To read or not to read? Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but what else are you meant to judge it by when there are so many to choose from? I’m here to help you with that (hopefully). I have read a book or two in my time and I really like to talk on and on about things I enjoy. So I’m going to tell you about some books I have read, with minimal spoilers, to help you out if you are looking for something to read, or not read.

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg
Novel aimed at a young adult audience
Pages: 344
Genre: Romance and Drama

Here I am, a female, writing about a book on the internet. Said book is about a female who writes on the internet. Said book is written by a girl who writes on the internet for a living. Does that make any sense? Basically, huge internet celebrity Zoe Sugg released a book, and I have read it and want to talk about it. I presume some of you internet dwellers (? can I call you that?) would have at least heard about it. If not, are you serious? The book broke the record for the highest sales for a debut author in a week of release. There are rumours of a ghostwriter being involved and some people are a little too pissed off.

To start I am going to address the elephant in the room, the conjecture of the book being written by a ghostwriter. Some people are pissed off that a book was written by a ghostwriter to be sold to the masses using Zoe’s fame, or that the ghostwriter has not been given due credit. Some believe that Zoe only had help from an editorial team to help bring it to life. And I think everyone else does not give an actual shit.  I don’t know how I feel about this because it is all speculation. I differ between feelings, if she just had a little help, all good. If someone wrote this for her, I’m pissed. But since I don’t know, I’m just going to focus on the book as a book and if I enjoyed it or not.

Brief teaser: Girl Online revolves around Penny, a 15 year old girl with a blog (who has more followers than I could ever dream of at 5432, just another 5400 to go!). She blogs about school, boys, friends and her feelings of anxiety. After an embarrassing incident at school goes viral her anxiety develops into panic attacks. She escapes to America with her parents over Christmas and meets a boy, Noah. After a perfect Christmas she returns home where her secret blog and Noah’s secret threatens to ruin everything.

I’d recommend it to a younger age group than myself, for preteens. Fans of Zoella (Zoe Sugg) should enjoy it as it is just as sweet and sugary and all things nice as Zoella. It is a short and easy read, and fun if you enjoy that kind of stuff.

SPOILERS ONWARDS || SPOILERS ONWARDS || SPOILERS ONWARDS

I’m going to say this now, I found it very difficult to enjoy this book. I think that I wanted to like it more than I actually did. Here are my reasons why.

Firstly, the characters were way too predictable for my liking. They were the stock standard Young Adult fiction book characters.You have the perfect main character, Penny, with no personality flaws and zero negative character traits. The only thing wrong in her life is her panic attacks and anxiety which is out of her control. Then you the hilarious side kick starring as Elliot, the stereotypical gay best friend. Then you have her awesome parents, who are immensely clueless but their hearts are in the right place. And lastly there are the idiots she goes to school with. Her really shallow crush who is cute but quite the arsehole, and her bitchy ex best friend. The characters were either really nice and therefore on her side, or they were really bitchy to her for no good reason. It felt like a children’s book where all good guys wear white, and all baddies in black.

Secondly, the romance portrayed in the book was completely unrealistic. I realise that this is a big call to make from someone that who reads Dramione fanfiction (if you don’t know what it is, keep it that way), but this was one of the most unfeasible love stories I’ve ever read. Penny and Noah, at ages 15 and 19 respectively, fell in love within a few hours of meeting each other. I’m going to ignore just how creepy that is, instead focusing on how that just doesn’t happen. They were telling each other secrets and personal family traditions really really quickly. And somehow her parents were completely ok with their 15 daughter running around a foreign country with a 19 year old. Despite much of the creepiness it was still quite cute to read.

And the last element that really annoyed me was that everything was so convenient and perfectly timed. Elliot was just able to come along to America, with everything paid for? Too easy. Anytime Noah and Penny needed alone time for the story the best friend Elliot just happened to be doing something else. I don’t enjoy books where the story changes everything. Penny didn’t have some fault that ruined something, everyone else’s faults affected her life.

However, one aspect I really appreciated was the inclusion of panic attacks and anxiety. I have read few books with this even alluded to so it was very refreshing to have it included as an integral part of the book. It is a cause that is very important to the author and that was made apparent whilst reading.

As much as I nitpicked at this book, that’s not to say it was a bad read. The story line and characters were very predictable, but I’m sure there are many readers out there where this is new.  It was a very sugary read, a little too sweet and sickening for my taste, but hey I might of really enjoyed it when I was younger. If you go in expecting something fun, light and short, you’ll be happy.

To read or not to read? Gone Girl

They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but what else are you meant to judge it by when there are so many to choose from? I’m here to help you with that, hopefully. I have read a book or two in my time and I really like to talk on and on about things I enjoy. So I’m going to tell you about some books I have read, with minimal spoilers, to help you out if you are looking for something to read, or not read.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Pages: 466

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you have probably heard about Gone Girl. The book was released in 2012 and quickly made the New Yorks Best Seller list, and then a film adaptation was released late 2014. I was intrigued by the shorts of the film but I always try to read the book first. I put it off for a while until a good friend of mine, and my dads partner read it and recommended it to me. It took me a little while to start, as it’s not my preferred genre, but once I started it, like all books, I couldn’t stop.

Brief teaser: Gone Girl follows the marriage of Nick and Amy Dunne. Amy disappears on the morning of their fifth anniversary in very suspicious circumstances. The police are quick to suspect Nick for many reasons: Amy’s friends swear that she was scared of Nick, he used her money to start a business, her life insurance was increased shortly before she went missing, he seems unemotional and distant on the camera. Despite all this he swears he is innocent. The books follows these events (and more) from both Nick and Amy’s perspective in the form of diary entries.

One of the biggest parts of this book that I liked was the uncertainty to what actually happened. You see what happens from the perspective of both Nick and Amy in diary entries. Yet they both give very different accounts of their marriage which leaves you unsure of who to trust. It had a bit of a slow start, as a lot of information is relevant, but once it got moving all it all comes together to make sense. There are a lot of intricate plot points that all have an affect on one another. It’s very well thought out and well written.

If you haven’t read it and you like crime or mystery novels I would recommend it. There are a lot of themes that fit this book, like secrets slowly unfolding, red herrings, motives. It’s also quite any easy read, there aren’t hidden meanings or vague suppositions you are meant to read into (or if you were they are all explained later).

|| SPOILERS FROM HERE ONWARDS || SPOILERS FROM HERE ONWARDS ||

What I really enjoyed about this book was that I really didn’t like either Nick or Amy as people. Nick was a bit of an dickhead, often not owning up to his mistakes. He was stubborn and his own worst enemy in the investigation. Amy (in the first part) was Cool Girl and was lying to herself. She wanted to seem cool with everything when she wasn’t, but didn’t want to be annoying so she seemed quite passive aggressive. So, whilst I was reading Gone Girl I didn’t mind which character was the bad guy, I was just along for the ride. And whilst I may not of liked them as people, I loved them as characters. They had quite a number of faults, and some really good attributes. They all had their own motives, to sum it up they were complex. Since I didn’t have a particular leaning towards one.

Then you found out one of their other flaws, they are both liars. They haven’t given an accurate representation of the story. Nick has been cheating on Amy, and Amy is alive and in hiding trying to frame Nick. It wasn’t as though they told a fib on a thing or two, Amy fabricated her account completely. In most books you take for granted that the characters account is truthful (at least the books I usually read) and I found it really refreshing. And whilst you know that they aren’t completely truthful, to have an entire account be completely false was a bit of a shock.

Before you learn Amy is alive I had my suspicions that Amy had disappeared on her own accord. I never thought Desi, Tommy Ohara, or Hilary Handy (the ‘psycho’ ex, Amy’s ‘rapist’, and Amy’s ‘stalker’) had attacked her. And I didn’t really think it was Nick, so that really only left Amy. What took me by surprise was just how psychotic she really was. She had been planning this for months, all methodically planned, it was creepy but impressive.

The only thing I didn’t really like was that I never quite doubted Nick. I believed that he did not kill Amy, and I wished that I doubted him more. I wrote him off as a suspect from the start, I think mainly due to his reaction to her missing. I thought there was a possibility it was him, but I doubted the book would go that way.

And to finish off on a positive note I wanted to mention just how intricate Flynn’s story was. There were so many scenes that seemed a little useless or where only there to give an insight on there relationship, but all the little pieces came together. Certain hints would be dropped and whilst it was a complex storyline, it was written in an easy to follow way. I would sit there and be like “I remember that! I REMEMBER THAT! I SEE HOW THAT FITS!”. I also appreciated that the ending wasn’t cliched, there was still a lot of power play and he wasn’t able to put her away for good, like you’d expect.

It wasn’t the book I expected it to be, it exceeded my expectations and I really enjoyed it.